Things are moving quickly at CTOUCH. With the first quarter of 2017 closed, Remmelt van der Woude, as of recently the new CEO of the Eindhoven based company that produces and sells large format touch screens for, among others, educational and corporate purposes, takes stock.
According to the set goal, this year the revenue will reach EURO 30 M (2016: EURO 20,5 M). In the first four months of 2017 sales rose to 7,2 M, margins improved, and significant investments were made to facilitate the desired growth spurt in the long run. An annual revenue growth of 35%, an Ebita of minimal 5%, and finally a turnover of EURO 69 M in the year 2020: that’s the perspective of the CTOUCH management.
“Growth is what we promised our investors last year when we issued our bonds through NPEX”, says Van der Woude in a conversation about the most recent developments at CTOUCH. Van der Woude and his team have their sights set on 2020.
“The extra capital enables us to innovate our products, to strengthen ourselves internationally, and to develop our relationships with some renowned manufacturers. This helps our organization to stay ahead in the competition with the collaboration solution by Microsoft and Cisco, and to grow significantly.”
CTOUCH takes the steps needed towards the future consciously. In the last six months the company strengthened itself with twelve qualified staff members, each contributing to the momentum of the company, thus increasing the total number of staff members to circa 40. According to Van der Woude, after the injection of capital, CTOUCH’s liquidity position is “rock-solid”. In the last couple of months significant steps were made to introduce the latest CTOUCH screens for the corporate market: the CTOUCH Leddura 2meet and 2share. This new line has to strengthen CTOUCH’s position in the corporate market through displays in meeting- and boardrooms.
In the coming months CTOUCH introduces new large format screens for the corporate market: the CTOUCH Leddura 2meet and 2share. For these new additions CTOUCH worked closely together with renowned manufacturers Barco and Harman Kardon. The CTOUCH Leddura is inter alia equipped with Microsoft Skype for Business, offers secured wireless possibilities for working together and reacts to spoken commands for queries in Google and Microsoft. The share of CTOUCH within the corporate market, next to the educational market, will further increase.
Currently, three quarters of all touch screens are sold to the educational market. “The CTOUCH Leddura enables users to work together on presentations in a secured, wireless environment. It is also equipped with the latest technology by our partner Harman Kardon, thus enabling spoken commands for Google and Microsoft”, Van der Woude states with great enthusiasm.
Furthermore, the strength of sales grew. In England, Exertis, Brittan’s largest IT distributor, acquired CTOUCH distributor Medium, thus enlarging the sales channel in an instant from 1.500 to 20.000 resellers. With the additional benefit that Exertis also has an extensive network of resellers in a number of other European countries. “Scale becomes more and more relevant in all stages of the distribution chain.“
The German market is growing rapidly as the German government has made IT in education a priority and CTOUCH has a powerful German reseller in the company Kindermann. In Switzerland, people always choose quality over price, resulting in Swiss growth for CTOUCH. For Germany and the Scandinavian countries the company is still searching for further expansion of the sales team.
“We are right on track, but we are always busy improving. We want to be flexible and we want to have the right people in the right seats”, says Van der Woude who himself changed places within management with Francois Barlinckhoff. Barlinckhoff now is in charge of Sales and International. Bernard Gosselink is CFO, while Van der Woude is ultimate responsible and in charge of Strategy and Production.
Van der Woude:
“CTOUCH is in the midst of transforming from product-focused thinking to client-focused thinking. For every step we take, one question is leading: How does this benefit the CTOUCH touch screen user?”
In the quest for further professionalization CTOUCH, decision has been made to introduce an Advisory Board. Perhaps a first step towards a Supervisory Board. “During the NPEX introduction, we received questions regarding the transparency of our company. ‘Who monitors you?’ we got asked by our investors. We are eager to give full disclosure. To articulate what we are doing and what we are planning. CTOUCH can make great use of the extra knowledge of the members of the Advisory Board, with associates as ING-banker Geert van der Guchte within the field of finances and ASML’s Roel Copic for product development.”
According to Van der Woude CTOUCH is making great progress in a number of other fields. For example the procurement process of replacement parts for the touch screens has improved significantly. Educating the company more about the products while increasing the levels of efficiency and quality within reach. Until now, customers of CTOUCH paid once for the hardware. Goal is to convert to paying for use and for new software releases.
With the introduction of the Leddura series, ‘CTOUCH as a service’ soon becomes reality. “Then we’re able to embark on a long-term relationship with our clients. A lasting relationship, with much attention to service, guidance, and personal commitment. How do you work the screen? We love to be a sparring partner, to help and to coach. Our most important brand value ‘the power to engage’ will become more and more visible as a service to the client. Growth perhaps also merges with a new residence in another, larger premises. Plans are in place to move to Strijp In Eindhoven at the start of 2018. In this stimulating environment many tech companies that share the same DNA already found their place.
“It is our precondition to keep CTOUCH together: our warehouse, sales, and the development of the displays. We are all in it together. That is our strength.”